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INDIA TO REVIVE MEGA MISSILE DEAL WITH ISRAEL AS BENJAMIN NETANYAHU COMES

INDIA TO REVIVE MEGA MISSILE DEAL WITH ISRAEL AS BENJAMIN NETANYAHU COMES

The government and the Indian army are discussing ways to revive a $500 million order to buy Spike anti-tank guided missile from Israel’s state-owned defense contractor Rafael, military chief Bipin Rawat said on Friday.

Recently India called off a deal to procure 8,000 missiles, souring the build up to Israel Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India this week.

The deal was scrapped after state-run Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) offered to manufacture similar missiles in line with Narendra Modi’s pet “Make in India” initiative, Rawat said.

“DRDO said why are you going for a missile when we are capable of manufacturing and can give you better results”, said Rawat. Also, DRDO missiles were yet to be test and would not be ready till 2022, which could hit India’s operational capabilities in the interim.

“That is what led to retracting of the RFP (request for proposal).”

“So how do we bridge the gap between now and 2022? It’s through spike. Rawat also said, “Rather than going whole hog we are in the discussion with the government to fill in the gap”.

“We can possibly look at a lesser number to meet the gap”.

To update its Soviet-era military hardware to counter long standing tension with regional rivals China and Pakistan, India has been investing tens of billions of dollars to improve their defenses. Israel is a major weapon supplier to India, exporting an average of $1 billion of military equipment each year.

Last year, in April a deal worth $2 billion was signed by the two countries which includes the supply of medium range surface to air- missiles, launchers and communication technology.

By the end of this decade, Modi wants to end India’s status as the world’s number one defense importer and to have 70 percent of hardware manufactured domestically.

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